Electronic Exclusion Expo

Think about the best discussions you’ve ever had, whether with friends, family, or colleagues. Were they great because everyone agreed on the same points, as if only a single voice was speaking, or were they memorable because everyone had a point of view and contributed to the conversation? For me, more people involved in any conversation serves to strengthen the arguments presented. You have to fight for your position, listen to and evaluate other people’s point of view, and ultimately walk away with a stronger sense of what you believe in and an insight into other ways the situation can be viewed. This is the essence of progress and now one of the greatest forums for discussion in video gaming has begun its transformation into an ivory tower.

E3. A single letter and number that for years has signified the greatest neutral ground in all of video gaming; where hundreds of games are shown off to the press, from corporate sponsored outlets like IGN to independent sites with smaller, but no less invested, fan bases. The great thing about E3 has been that everyone gets to see the games and give their fans the coverage they deserve. I use the past tense because that E3 no longer exists. I was informed last week that because of “the tremendous number of requests for media badges” E3 has to institute “caps” on the number of media badges issued to each outlet, based on that outlet’s visibility – how many unique hits they get per month. What this means in basic terms is that we at psnation.org cannot get as many people to E3 as we would like – for the sake of full disclosure I will probably not be able to attend because of this. This sets up a dangerously closed loop. The larger sites that garner more hits per month will have more people at E3, this will allow them to cover the event more thoroughly and generate more content, thus driving more hits to their site. It is the video game equivalent of “No Child Left Behind.” Essentially if you are not one of the larger sites you are going to get pushed out, and if you are at a larger outlet, then good news because your presence at these events is only going to get larger. This could lead to an E3 in the future where it is only covered by a handful of large outlets, with the independent video game media minimized at the event and left to fight over scraps of information already released by the larger sites. This would effectively silence a great number of voices in the conversation that is video game journalism.

I understand that there are certain realities to a large media event – only a certain number of people can fit in a convention center. However, the way that E3 attendees are being chosen this year sets up a dynamic that could have long lasting effects on the future of independent outlets that write about games and the fans who read their words. I leave it to you, the readers of psnation.org, to tell me I’m crazy or paranoid, but I truly believe that the wonderfully chaotic nexus of information that E3 generated in the past may be gone. In its place will stand a clean, singular ivory tower with only a handful of voices proclaiming their message from its peak.

Written by Justin Spielmann

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  • Anonymous

    I don’t think you’re paranoid at all. Every passing year it seems that E3 has been wanting to get cozier with larger outlets. I personally have never been to E3, but I listen to about 6 different gaming podcasts, and while I used to get excited for E3 news, it almost seems like they want to make things more difficult for the little guy… whether it be limiting access or leaving little room for smaller developers. Not to mention that it seems that they are terrible with planning in general (from what I can tell) when it comes to crowd control and the like.

    It really is sad that this policy seems to literally piss on the smaller blogs and websites who don’t garner a great deal of traffic…mostly because a lot people depend on those smaller gaming sites for their information, and value them for their community, which include the people who do the reviews and editorials like this one. The idea that those people can no longer get those certain viewpoints because the “powers that be” decided that those outlets MAY not be “important” enough, is just plain mind boggling.

  • You really think that those “journalists” that you speak of don’t have their own bias or do not get “things” from companies to sway their opinions on their products? Remember Microsoft giving away Xbox slims last year? Seriously, if you don’t know what you’re talking about, it’s really more intelligent for you to not say anything. For readers who know better, your statements end up revealing far deeper into your intentions and motivations than anything you say. And your defensiveness of it is only indicative of that. If the nerve is tender, it hurts more when people touch it.

    This is a site devoted to PlayStation 3, for folks who enjoy PlayStation 3. Similarly, there are sites devoted to Xbox 360 and Wii, who probably share a love and appreciation of all things relating to their console. What’s the problem here?

    Also, you must have not read the article in full. PSNation will cover E3.

  • Anonymous

    Not to sound mean Thgilyad, but are you Chuck’s mom? Different viewpoints are welcomed, just plain hatred for a site means you’re looking to upset or annoy the individuals who come to this site just for the attention. We get it, you don’t like many aspects of this site, so why continue to come here? Those “real journalist” websites would love your traffic.

    Now to the article, I’m torn because each year, there are so many people there and the lines are so long that it’s hard to get access to all the games. So I understand wanting to trim it back a bit, but going off site hits only means that the larger or the sites that cause flamewars will get noticed. Maybe there will be enough of an outcry about this after the event that a tweak will occur. But I do see E3 becoming more exclusive.

  • Anonymous

    I can see the need for a cap but surely the organizers could have set it so that every outlet has the same cap-“every site gets 5 badges and that’s it” sounds reasonable to me.

    Good on you Justin for putting this article up, it’s good to see behind the curtain sometimes.

    • Anonymous

      That’s not fair for the big sites because they have shareholders and a huge to please and 5 people is not enough for them to adequately get the coverage they need. Whereas if you give sites like this 5 passes, you just get a bunch of riff raff who are only there to say they were there and make it harder for the actual journalists to get their job done.

      • Anonymous

        So how would you make it fair?

      • Anonymous

        There will always be people at exclusive events who don’t take it as seriously as they should. This is the case with any large convention where demand outstrips the number of attendees that will be allowed in.

        I agree that corporately sponsored sites do have an obligation to cover large events like E3, but they also get to see a lot of the games privately and have one on one time with them outside of the standard media event calendar. In the end E3 is much more critical for smaller sites, as it may be the one chance they get that year to get hands on with games in development. E3 is important to everyone, but for the independent gaming press this is one of their few chances for access.

  • 210

    Great, its the smaller sights that have the most honest impressions and information on games. Did any of the real big sites post about the failures of Kinect? No because they were either in pocket or didnt like the punishment they would receive from MS.

    Sony hate is invogue. So without the smaller sights, Sarcastic Gamer, PSnation, playstation lifestyle etc we can count on everything SONY sucking, especially the NGP.

    This is a terrible move IMHO. I already am disenchanted by the “gaming journalism” we see from the major online websites which demonstrate on a daily basis why they shouldnt be working in this field at all but rather for certain companies as PR people.

    I support you, and still hope you find a way to go.